Photograph by Kishor Rithe.
Month Year: December 2004
Young Naturalist Award
He has worked on surveys of the submergence zone of the proposed Upper Tapi Stage II dam in Melghat and the Human dam that threatens the Tadoba Tiger Reserve. He is working with the Satpuda Foundation to ensure just and proper resettlement of six villages that have chosen to move out of the Tadoba Tiger Reserve.
“The boy with the stick,” that’s how villagers in the Melghat and Tadoba Tiger Reserves refer to ‘Pratap’ Thakare. He has a talent for befriending villagers and garnering information on illegal activities inside Protected Areas. First-hand information gathered by him helped crack an illegal operation to smuggle musali plants from the Gugamal National Park in the Melghat Tiger Reserve in 2003.
Information provided by him led to the arrest of the main traders. Though just 21 years old, he already has an enviable record of field experience in conservation. From helping to identify and study the elusive Forest Owlet in Melghat and the Great Indian Bustard in Nanaj, Sholapur, to tracking the endangered wild buffalo along the Indravati river, he has helped gather data on some of Central India’s rarest species. A member of the Satpuda Foundation and Nature Conservation Society of Amravati, he has been an integral part of these organisations’ activities in central India for the last three years. He has worked with the BNHS on surveys of the forest areas to be affected by the Upper Tapi dam in Melghat and the Human dam near Tadoba. In 2003, Pratap conducted a nature education programme in 17 villages in the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR). He is currently working on the Wildlife Conservation Trust and Satpuda Foundation’s joint project to assist in the rehabilitation of six villages from the TATR while doing his B.Sc. in Agriculture at Warora.
First published in: Sanctuary Asia, Vol XXIV No. 6, December 2004.